erick M. Nunn has written recently, "The Peruvian army had out-paced the
civilian institutions by the 1960s."107
The future of the Peruvian military and its intervention in politics depends
on what happens in the civil war against the Shining Path. "Not since 1879 has
the Peruvian military faced as great a challenge as it confronts at the present."108 Masterson's conclusion is irrefutable: " Peru, now more than ever, needs a stable
and progressive armed forces establishment to defeat the Sendero Luminoso
insurgency and help rebuild the nation's shattered infrastructure once the war is
over."109 And yet paradoxically, the successful professionalization of the military achieved to date has created a high degree of institutional complacency
within the armed forces. Many insist on ignoring the threat posed by the Shining
Path; only 15% of the defense budget is allocated to fighting the Sendero insurgents. A few even maintain that there is a limit to what can be expected from
military operations, as the struggle against the senderistas, like that against the
Viet Cong in the 1960s and 1970s, can not be won militarily. Where there is
consensus, however, is in the military's determination to preserve "the profession and the institution from excessive individual adventurism."110 The time of
the caudillos is gone forever!
C. Astiz, Pressure Groups and Power Elites in Peruvian Politics ( Ithaca: Cornell
University Press, 1969), p. 131.
Robert Marett, Peru ( New York: Praeger, 1969), p. 121.
Peter F. Klarén, "The Origins of Modern Peru, 1880-1930", in
ed., The Cambridge History of Latin America, vol. 5: c 1870 to 1930 ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), p. 600.
Frederick B. Pike, The Modern History of Peru ( New York: Praeger, 1967), p. 145.
David P. Werlich, Peru: A Short History (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1978), p. 119.
Cáceres was the most popular Peruvian war hero to survive the struggle with Chile. Jorge Basadre, Peru's internationally renowned historian of the republican era,
praised the general for his military exploits during the War of the Pacific, elevating him
to the company of the nation's greatest martyrs, Grau and Bolognesi. Unfortunately for Cáceres' reputation, however, "when Chilean bullets spared his life, he turned automatically into a great national caudillo. The nation thought that just as he had led his troops
through rough terrain, chasms and cliffs, he could lead it through the prosaic but no less
painful path of reconstruction." Basadre, Historia de la Rep£blica del Per£
, vol. 6, 5th
ed. ( Lima: Editorial PeruAmérica, S.A., 1964), p 2736
. Cáceres did not live up to these
expectations. As Basadre concluded, "even heros cannot craft the reins of government
from the bloody wings of liberty. No solid building can be built with bayonets" ("Con
las alas sangrientas de la libertad ni los héroes pueden fabricar riendas. Ning£n edificio
sólido se construye sobre bayonetas
"). Ibid., 2640